Professor Alison Holmes OBE
CAMO-Net Lead, University of Liverpool and Imperial College London
Researchers based across five international hubs are working on a unique collaboration they hope will help address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.
A global network has been established to find new ways of making more effective use of existing antibiotics. The hope is that the Centres for Antimicrobial Optimisation Network (CAMO-Net) will also help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
With limited success in developing new antibiotics, the network believes more can be done with the ‘existing armoury’ of infection-tackling agents. As an international research collaborative, the Network will focus on themes such as technology and innovation for optimised prescribing, understanding behaviours, better use of data and improved medicines management methods to ensure more effective use of antibiotics.
Network lead, Professor Alison Holmes, says new antibiotics are rare, despite vast amounts of funding to develop them. “More can be done in terms of how we can optimise our existing agents,” she continues. “Using them more effectively also means that access to therapy is addressed. It is not just about stewardship, methods and policies — it is about innovation and technology.
“We need to ensure that our treatments are effective and sustainable in the face of growing antimicrobial resistance and to optimise their use to benefit all populations.”
The overarching aim is to develop research to tackle
AMR by using antimicrobials more effectively.
A network approach
Funded by the Wellcome Trust, CAMO-Net has national hubs in Brazil, India, South Africa, Uganda and the UK, with shadow sites in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Timor-Leste.
“The overarching aim is to develop research to tackle AMR by using antimicrobials more effectively and deliver equitable access to effective and appropriate antimicrobials,” says Holmes. The hubs and shadow centres will be supported by technical expertise from centres for diagnostics in Ghana, clinical pharmacology in Thailand and genomics in Malawi.
Research themes include technology and innovation (including AI) for optimised prescribing; context, culture and behaviours; and medicines management. It is underpinned by complementary site-based expertise, data and infrastructure.
Harnessing local expertise and knowledge sharing
Holmes underlines the value of working collaboratively and globally. Under a context-specific approach to research on antimicrobial optimisation, each national hub is harnessing local knowledge to address issues and needs across communities ranging from highly urbanised centres to remote areas. Sites are connected through the Network to promote shared learning and capacity strengthening.
Holmes hopes this very different way of research collaboration could become a model for future studies. CAMO-Net, which is not involved with drug discovery, believes that maximising the efficacy of existing agents will also facilitate a framework to protect new agents that emerge.